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A tree of wishes made by children in care
Monday 5th November, 2012

A six-foot high “tree of wishes” has been unveiled in Wigan to mark the start of National Adoption week.
The tree features the handwritten wishes of children waiting to be adopted. They include a little girl’s plea for a family to “give me hugs and kisses”. Another girl’s wish is for a family who have a “dog with a kind bark”. One of the boys said he wishes to have a “grandfather”.

The poignant messages have been collected for a new campaign aimed at encouraging people to adopt. The results will form part of a marketing campaign run by Warrington, Wigan and St. Helens councils – who together run a combined adoption service.

There are currently 63 children across the three council areas waiting to be adopted. But there is a shortage of people willing to take them in. That means children are growing up without loving, permanent homes.

Wigan, Warrington and St Helens councils merged their adoption services into one in October 2011. Known as WWiSH, it is the only combined service of its kind in the country. The move was designed to speed up the adoption process and provided more placement options for children.

At the launch of the new marketing campaign was Donna Hall, the chief executive of Wigan Council, who was adopted when she was just three months old, and former Wigan mayor Cllr John Hilton, who was adopted after being abandoned at two days old.

The campaign is designed to persuade more people to come forward and offer a “forever family” for a child in care. A new WWiSH website has been launched providing information for those considering adoption and outlining the process involved. Information sessions will also be held in each of the three council areas where those interested in adopting will be able to get advice from WWiSH staff.

Ruth Fitzgerald, adoption manager for WWiSH, says: “The shortage of adopters is a national problem – and sadly it is getting worse. There are children in care desperate to be placed with a family but there simply isn’t enough people coming forward.

“We at WWiSH are hoping this marketing campaign will persuade people to think about offering a family for a child. We’d welcome interest from anyone from any walk of life regardless of marital status, gender, race or sexuality.

“Adopting can be challenging but it can also be hugely rewarding too. Providing a loving, stable, permanent home for a child in care is an opportunity to make a real difference.

“We at WWiSH are committed to helping people through the process and supporting them in every way we can.”

Could you provide a forever family for a child awaiting adoption? If so, please contact WWiSH - call 01942 487272, email wwish@wigan.gov.uk or go online at www.wwish.org.uk

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